Pantsbomber psyche laid bare in messageboard archives (corrected)

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103 Responses to “Pantsbomber psyche laid bare in messageboard archives (corrected)”

  1. Mosh says:

    Well bcsizemo, let’s hope that all of the mentally troubled people in the world are as rational or self-analyzing as you are.

  2. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    And as you said, terrorist pawns and members of the US military are two completely different things. An economically challenged person has the self determination to make his own decisions. Someone who is emotionally disturbed who falls into the influence of evil people does not. It’s not a valid comparison at all.

  3. MrJM says:

    I wish his mommy had loved him more.

  4. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    ASIFA,

    You are conflating two different things. The US army’s recruitment practices, and Abdulmutallab’s recruitment.

    I wasn’t saying (and Xeni probably wasn’t either) that this kid was selected under the same criteria as US army recruits. My comment (totally unrelated to Abdulmutallab) about the US army’s recruitment was intended to clarify what I thought Xeni’s comment referred to, not as a parallel or justification of Abdulmutallab’s recruitment.

    I shouldn’t have answered for Xeni.

  5. thequickbrownfox says:

    Surely he could have tried to get a date at a lonely hearts column;

    “Sensitive, shy Islamist seeks understanding woman.

    Interests: Jihad, travel, sewing.”

  6. Day Vexx says:

    Folks online should remember these posts next time they consider a sarcastic, “go-kill-yourself” in reply. Kinda sucks that after what was probably a lifetime of not getting what he needed emotionally, that he wasn’t posting his little plea for help somewhere like BoingBoing, etc…

    • jjasper says:

      Indeed. If you’re depressed enough to kill yourself, and angry at people who you think are evil, taking some of them with you is a reasonable thing to do, and will allow you to think you’re good for something after all.

  7. amba12 says:

    Ironically, his e-mail adress “umarm” is German for “hug.”

  8. gollux says:

    “The Autoerotic Manual for Fapping with PETN, Sulphuric Acid and Fire”

    by Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab

    “How to Imitate Headless Poultry, While Shutting the Barn Door After the Equine Occupants Have Escaped”, offical DHS PR manual on managing unknown attacks by preventing prior attacks.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is the first time I’ve really thought of terrorists as people in pain, susceptible to suggestion, and being motivated to destroy that which they can’t have, or that which their religion tells them they aren’t allowed to enjoy.

    Not that it makes the solution to the problem any more apparent.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Look, Boing Boing readers are the best in my opinion, but I really have to call you out on this one.

    One does not carry out a terror attack because one is emo, depressed or God help us because he lacked siblings. If that was the issue, he would have painted his fingernails black and maybe posted a Youtube video or two. No, the United States is bombing muslim countries and has killed hundreds of thousands of muslims in the last decade and is looking to kill a whole lot more under the presidency of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

    The US government has been supporting the corrupt despot of Yemen for several years now, and the Nobel Peace Price Winner launched several cruise missiles at “Al Quaeda in Yemen” that killed over 49 non-combatants two weeks ago. The US launches cruise missiles at Yemen and now Al Quaeda in Yemen retaliates with an underwear bomber.

    As you sow, so shall you reap. Why aren’t these disgruntled emo type muslims without enough siblings bombing Ireland, Sweden or Germany?

    It’s the foreign policy, motherfuckers. Declare war on Islam, occupy Afghanistan, occupy Iraq, bomb Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and bankroll Israel’s occupation of millions of Palestinians and some Muslims will try to strike back at you whether or not they have friends of Facebook.

    Wake the fuck up.

    Leave the psychobabble for domestic consumption. Now someone brainwashed this kid and facilitated this attack, might have been muslim terrorists, might have been an intelligence agency, but there is more to this attack than Muhammad missing his Mommy.

    • joeposts says:

      I think you’re right. We’re at war, the US has active operations in five muslim countries, and we should have no reasonable expectation for security. Our governments are killing people on our behalf, our inaction condones their behaviour. Some people will fight back and try to kill us, no matter how nice we are to them. That’s generally how war works.

      But isn’t it important to understand the motivations of the ‘foot soldiers’ in this war? I guess it is pointless to overanalyse it though; there’s not much we can do if we keep dropping bombs and sending soldiers in.

    • StevenBatwork says:

      Look, Boing Boing readers are the best in my opinion, but I really have to call you out on this one, Anonymous. This thread has some of the sickest moral equivalence I’ve seen in a while. In your telling, the US just decided out of the blue without any provocation or backstory, to just start lobbing cruise missiles into Yemen. No USS Cole, no history of terrorism or Wahhabist mosques, no open-door policy on Yemeni prisons into which Guantanomo terrorists were transferred for rehabilitation. What a joke. I’d be interested to hear more about “The US government has been supporting the corrupt despot of Yemen for several years now”, can you back that up?

      @ Xeni Jardin (#14). Please. Those f–ked up kids in the Army didn’t for the most part start out f–ked up, it came when they put on the uniform and became a target for the like of the Weeniebomber, sad sacks that hide behind civilians.

      If Farouk1986 wants unconditional love he should GET A DOG. Oh right, they’re “unclean”. Get a cat (?)

    • max says:

      “Declare war on Islam, occupy Afghanistan, occupy Iraq, bomb Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and bankroll Israel’s occupation of millions of Palestinians and some Muslims will try to strike back at you whether or not they have friends of Facebook.”

      Finally. I feel as though there is this uniquely self important American idea that we did nothing wrong and they “hate our freedom!” That’s it oh jeez, my free speech threatens them! Terrorism is not a one bit unreasonable reaction to despotism and ill treatment the West imposes upon smaller, less stable nations. I can’t even deal with living in this country anymore because everything I see is wall to wall soaked in blood, although I guess that is just the logical conclusion to a large expanding population and the variety of factors that led to Western dominance in the middle ages. But it still bothers me. I go to Nicaragua all the time and see this commodified misery that we export around the world, it’s absolutely disgusting. So here is how you win the war on terror, do some nation building, invest in middle eastern infrastructure, try to root out debilitating poverty and then pull out. This war for energy is the short sighted thing a 14 year old boy might dream up. People are fucking retarded.

      • Notary Sojac says:

        “I can’t even deal with living in this country anymore because everything I see is wall to wall soaked in blood,”

        This is a frightening phrase. Anonymous, please seek some help. Or, find a country that you -can- deal with living in, and go there. I say this sincerely and with no snark intended.

    • elNico says:

      @Anonymous#26

      Hey, a young Muslim fitting this personality profile did attempt to blow up a train in Germany a few years ago. Yes, the US is the great Satan, but for angry young men with an epic battle to fight, Old Europe will do as well.

  11. DeWynken says:

    only an emo could rationalize blowing his wang to Paradise.

  12. joeposts says:

    Very sad post. Being lonely sucks, and it sounds like he felt alone for a long time. And afraid of rejection and sexual desire. Not uncommon – if only someone decent had helped him out he might not be facing a long jail sentence with horribly scarred genitals. Gee, can’t wait until THOSE pictures show up. :-/

    Repression of sexual desire seems to drive an awful lot of destructive behaviour. Why haven’t our counterterrorism experts picked up on this? Instead of dropping pro-USA propaganda leaflets over terrorist hotspots, drop self-help books and dating guides, sexual health literature, discreetly packaged condoms, and vintage 1950s Playboy magazines (should probably start slow). They could do this over the bible belt too, maybe stop a few mass murderers.

  13. Micah says:

    I believe Bill Maher said it best:

    If we really want to stop terrorism, we have to get Muslim men laid…. [H]ow many members of Al Qaeda have even dated a girl? We should hire women to infiltrate Al Qaeda cells and fuck them. Things would change quickly because young Muslim men don’t really hate America. They’re jealous of America. We have rap videos and the Hilton sisters and magazines with titles like Barely Legal. You know what’s “barely legal” in Afghanistan? Everything!

    Have you ever wondered why the word from the Arab street is always so angry? It’s because it’s a bunch of guys standing in the street! Which is what guys do when they don’t have girlfriends, when they’re not allowed to even talk to a girl. Of course they want to commit suicide! Unlike this country where it’s the married guys who want to kill themselves.

    But here we always have hope. You can at least talk to a girl. And one might be crazy enough to go for you. Or you could get rich and buy one, like people do in Beverly Hills. But the connection between no sex and anger is real. It’s why prizefighters stay celibate when they’re in training, so that on fight night, they’re pissed off and ready to kill.

    It’s why football players don’t have sex after Wednesday. And conversely, it’s why Bill Clinton never started a war.

    And so, to paraphrase the sign in Mr. Clinton’s old war room, “It’s the pussy, stupid.”

    We need the Coalition of the Willing to be really willing! We need to mobilize two divisions of skanks, a regiment of hos, and a brigade of girls who just can’t say no….

    Forget the Peace Corps. We need a “Piece of Ass Corps”! Girls, there’s a cure to terrorism, and you’re sitting on it!

    • Chrs says:

      Yeah, the problem with the “Get them laid” idea? Hamas already does that (ref). Hizbollah already REALLY does that, with “temporary marriage” (ref).

      Not really going to help much, as long as they’re grateful to the groups that helped make it happen. It could potentially start to erode the moral foundations they claim, but it could just end up like legalizing drugs: it controls thing that people were already doing, in ways that can be effectively tweaked by the relevant authority.

    • Anonymous says:

      And conversely, it’s why Bill Clinton never started a war.
      Serbia?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I wonder whether terrorist recruiters are looking out for exactly this sort of post. I wonder whether this is what happened here. Find someone religious, very lonely and depressed, someone who has no-one. Befriend them: give them someone, or a group of people who make them feel loved and special and make them feel that their past suffering has a meaning and an external cause. Those people and their opinions would naturally become the most important thing in the target’s life. So when those people ask the target to give up their life for a “worthy” cause, praise the victim as a hero if he or she complies, and damn them as a coward if not, what will happen?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Someone who needs a person who will always be nice to them, and will give them all the affection and attention they want, is doomed to be disappointed. I agree that this kind of loneliness and depression is empathetic and humanizing, but there is an undercurrent of willful disenfranchisement and unrealistic (naive) expectations in that post.

    I think more attention needs to be given to young men and their emotional health and capacity for healthy expression in general, but loneliness alone does not a terrorist make.

  16. Super Nate says:

    I want to say something about the whole depression vs. repression vs. US foreign policy debate. It’s really important and, scary as these people are, they are still our fellow man. That said,
    1. Blow-up lots of underpants
    2. ???
    3. Pussy!

  17. Freddie Freelance says:

    It sounds like they don’t need Hookers, they need Yentas: “I know this nice girl, the daughter of my cousin Tessie, she’s a good girl and knows how to cook; you’ll really like her!”

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d take a yenta, but I’m neither Jewish nor jonesing to bomb anything. Maybe if I grow a beard and get one of those snazzy hats…

  18. kastner says:

    This looks a whole lot like this:

    “Every evening I am alone, and then go to bed alone,” he wrote. “I see twenty something couples everywhere. I see a twenty something guy with a nice twentyish young women. I think those years slipped right by for me. Why should I continue another 20+ years alone?”

    That’s from here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/04/bridgeville-gym-shooting-_n_251411.html an article about the L.A. Fitness shooter.

  19. ill lich says:

    How dare you make us look at this terrorist as if he were a human being!!!

    Of course I’m being sarcastic– there but for the grace of god go a lot of disaffected kids; when a Muslim male “goes Columbine” he doesn’t show up at school with guns, he turns himself into a bomb. But it’s more than just being sad and lonely, he needed that seed of anger from religious extremists to give him direction.

    So which is easier– searching everyone’s underwear before they get on a plane, or promoting democracy and economic stability in the Islamic world? I guarantee you they will find another way to blow up planes and buildings after we have neutralized the threat of crotch-bombs.

    And we can joke about the guy’s burned crotch all we want, but I feel sorry for him. That doesn’t mean I’m “on the side of the terrorists”, but rather I’m on the side of the humans, all of them, and the sooner we all start treating each other as humans, the sooner some of the more desperate among us will stop turning from humans into monsters.

  20. Chrs says:

    Ah damn, missed an open on the second link, but MAN it is a fascinating article. A conservative Shiite group effectively sanctioning hookups? Shocking!

  21. Sciurus says:

    @thequickbrownfox

    I understand you’re trying to be funny. I just want to point out that jihad merely means struggle, as in ones personal struggle in life to be a better person in the eyes of god.

  22. Anonymous says:

    but unfortunately for a guy who commits… or TRIES to commit such a heinous act, you got to give love to get it, care to be cared for. all this “look at ME! why are you not looking at ME?” or “why doesn’t someone care for/love ME?” just don’t cut it! and so what are we supposed to think? loneliness plus selfishness times fanaticism equals terrorism??? sex alone doesn’t cure loneliness, only being cared for doesn’t create meaning in one’s life! maybe he thinks the houris in bostan and peristan will understand him??? @__@

  23. chiasmj says:

    I just want to point out that the original loneliness post is NOT by Farouk1986. If you scroll down, you’ll see his actual post, which is very different in tone:

    [quote]

    Assalamu Alaykum

    i was ‘lonely’ when i first came to IF. ‘Lonely’ in inverted comma because i made myself feel that way.

    Insha Allah i can help you out. Just hit me on MSN anytime;

    umarm21[at]hotmail.com

    If i don’t see you on MSN then maybe i’ll just post something for you on this thread.

    Ma’assalam

    [/quote]

    The message board is using an old system for showing replies to original threads. You can see the reply tree on the bottom of the page; additionally Farouk1986 seems to begin all his posts with “Assalamu Alaykum.” Doesn’t look like the guy was all that emo to me.

  24. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I think that it’s important to acknowledge the difference between becoming a terrorist and becoming a hominid bomb-carrying device because you live in a war zone / they’re going to murder your family / you’re eight years old and you don’t know any better. Many of the suicide bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan are carried out by defenseless women and children who have been strapped up and sent to die. Doing it because you’re emo gives terrorism a bad name.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Presidents cannot declare war, only congress can. Care to guess the last time that happened. Most of you will have to guess, or look it up, as you weren’t born yet. Seems odd that many presidents have used the “special powers” allocated to him in time of war, when there was not a declaration to allocate them.

  26. Mark Gordon says:

    It’s interesting to compare and contrast the pantsbomber with the Fort Hood shooter. The latter, whom I see as having failed in an attempt at suicide-by-cop, apparently acted alone, which means that the “sinister organizations look for vulnerable people who want to belong” theory may be misplaced; strictly speaking, no organization is necessary, though they may expedite travel to lands where targets may more readily be found.

    Given that suicide is glorified in the context of militant Islam, then perhaps it’s simply that militant Islam attracts the inherently suicidal within Muslim society. Those who are inclined to kill themselves can find a rationale that allows them to do so with honor. They just need to try to take some infidels with them.

    And for those who suggest that the US is a target because of post-9/11 foreign policy, it bears noting that the US was targeted on 9/11 on the basis of pre-9/11 foreign policy, and other countries with various foreign policies (UK, Spain, India, Russia, etc.) have been targeted, and foreign tourists in predominantly Muslim nations (Indonesia, Egypt, etc.) have similarly been targeted.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well, Lonely guys, looking for a meaning and to belong, full of hormones and doubts and with a huge hole in their ego have been a great resource all across the worlds history.

    poor sod, but once you take action to kill someone out of stupidity, you are truly and verily screwed.

  28. Anonymous says:

    @Xeni re US Army: I can empathise to some extent, having been through some dark days as a young (peacetime) serviceman in Asia. Fortunately we had the dual outlets of alcoholism and prostitutes. Note that US troops stationed in the middle east have been deprived of both, thus Haditha

    God bless America!

  29. happyez says:

    Read a study (somewhere, somehow) that had analysed terrorist groups and their internal tactics, and one of the things noted was that the terrorist groups – no matter what region or religion – offered across the board, was a chance to ‘belong’.

    What I don’t remember is if all those who join the group are sent out as front line soldiers, but it does bring up similar linkages in history.

    Every political movement, religious and social as well, relies on getting kids involved. To use Germany as an example (and to expand beyond Godwin’s Law a bit) NSDAP had Hitler Youth, the SED had Free German Youth, and the NDP (present day largest neo-nazi organisation, eg a belligerent in the annual Kreuzberg May Day riots) has for the last few years has revived the old Hitler Youth ways of outdoors activities, social groups, soccer teams etc. Even Baader-Meinhof/ Red Army Faction used similar tactics, which was classed as ‘terrorism’ from what I believe.

    Neo-Nazis in eastern Germany are basically ignorant, bored, uneducated and having grown up under the SED in East Germany (anyone seen the salute the Free German Youth had? – or FDJ in German – google it, its very dickhead-ish) under a more or less unchanged dictatorial environment (minus the persecuted minorities), the imposition (as they see it) of West German dominance has left their society ruined. Oh, and all the weird looking people coming in where they weren’t before.

    How do I know this? The best friend of my wife lives in Berlin as a social worker and has a lot of clients in Marzhan etc. It’s pretty awful out there, and that’s where they are recruited.

    Don’t ETA, IRA, Al Massoud Angelic Bombers of Revenge (err whatever) operate on the same lines – a sense of belonging; a goal/ focus (ie blowing things or people up); a common enemy; heirarchical leaders exerting control – when hasn’t this worked for the uneducated etc? Or even the educated (in New Age cults)….

    Just with Al(fred) Kaydah etc. the enemy is more obvious, and the damage they inflict is on a mass scale.

    Just adding a slightly different aspect to this debate.

    • Notary Sojac says:

      Well said happyez – as I scrolled down through the posts, I was trying to frame a Godwin-free comment.

      Many destructive movements throughout recent history have specifically targeted the emotionally crippled and disaffected as their foot soldiers. This does NOT mean that the organized movements don’t exist, or that they are not destructive.

      The threads here on BB right after the Fort Hood shooting were jam-packed with the desire to portray the shooter as a “lone wolf” – as we increasingly learn that that was not the case, I don’t see many coming on line to admit they were wrong in that characterization.

      Fortunately (except for Obama’s original presser) very few appear to be willing to try that characterization here.

  30. william says:

    This is the kind of outcome I imagine from the sort of pre-birth gender selection ou see in parts of the third world. Mobs of angry, alienated young men who can’t get a date.

  31. pinehead says:

    I made a joke earlier in the thread, but of course I do agree with many of you who commented after me; that the man seems more sad than fearsome. I’m sure the people who committed past bombings and hijackings around the world were just as sad and isolated. That’s not sarcasm, by the way; it’s true. You won’t find a man happily married, in love with his wife and who adores his children, taping dynamite between his butt cheeks and running into a crowded restaurant.

    You don’t see that because those guys can’t be manipulated by the craven sociopaths of the world. To be manipulated, you have to want something first. Lonely young men usually want a woman’s love – real love, not just a quick shag after the dollar movie is over. But, for whatever reasons, they’re incapable of that kind of relationship, and they spiral further and further down, deeper into hopelessness. It’s easy to get them to march into oblivion, at that point.

    So you mix up a bunch of BS involving God and women, and your sad little man becomes an ethereal warrior; eternal and heroic, with his harem of adoring women awaiting him just beyond the vale. All that is required of him is to take a few of the unwashed infidels down with him. What courage, they’ll say! What songs they’ll sing in his honor!

    If the self-proclaimed clerics who recruit those sad souls were worth that title, they would try to counsel and help those young men instead of reducing them to little more than just another piece of a bomb. But it’s much easier to be angry and hateful, and to disregard your neighbors’ lives. Realizing the differences of the world and understanding more about the world requires a level of enlightenment those “clerics” aren’t interesting in attaining.

  32. johnnyaction says:

    Any time you have large amounts of unemployed young men with no hope of getting a wife you have the makings of serious trouble.

    Adding the right amount of xenophobia, righteous rhetoric, fanaticism and a brooding sense of injustice will spark bloody violence.

  33. mdh says:

    Folks online should remember these posts next time they consider a sarcastic, “go-kill-yourself” in reply.

    Sorry, but I’m just not ever going to feel responsible for someone elses irrational reaction to snark on the internet.

  34. bananachair says:

    I’m really confused (troubled?) by the amount of comments genuinely advocating a quick shag as a remedy for guys like Farouk. So it’s the responsibility of able-bodied young ladies like myself to **** lonely extremists, lest our frigid and neglectful behaviour cause desperate acts of terrorism. Women are sexual objects without agency, waiting in the wings to be brought out whenever a Angry Young Man needs pacifying or comfort. Right. Reminds me of the mindset behind the shootings in L.A @kastner mentioned.

  35. Antijoe says:

    BanannaChair, as a young gay man, I’m only too happy to sign up for the shag-for-peace-corps.

    And dare I say it, I think we could probably do it better.

  36. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    An economically challenged person has..

    This is going nowhere, but I don’t think you have the information to say such a thing.
    I’m suggesting the possibility that circumstance can force you into a corner, leaving you open to exploitation. You seem to be saying that this is definitely not so.

    Desperate people are desperate.

  37. bcsizemo says:

    Well actually I think the idea behind “shagging” them is more that they are being sexually repressed through their religion.

    Yeah sex does release some tension, but it is another thing when you are extremely limited in who you can meet, what you can do, ect…

    Frankly I don’t see why it’s the rest of the worlds job to fix problems like this. The “west” as others have put it has not been in existence nearly as along as most Muslim countries. But yet here we are. Perhaps it’s our loose morals and unclean behavior that has fostered our growth. Or perhaps it’s their limited views, moral constructs, and die hard religious beliefs that have limited their growth. Which ever, I don’t feel it is my direct responsibility to help these people. If someone wants help then I am all for it. But before I see that, we need to stay the hell out of helping all these other countries and try working on our own.

  38. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    You seem to be saying that lack of money can mean complete lack of self determination. That isn’t true. We all have options and limitations whether we are rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged. We’re free to make our own decisions based on our own abilities and circumstances, and we should all be responsible for our choices ourselves. I may not be able to decide to become a pro basketball player no matter how much I desperately want to be one, because I lack the physical build for it, but that doesn’t mean that I have no other options. No one in the US right now is forced to join the military. Recruits weigh the benefits and risks and make that decision for themselves.

    However, mentally ill people may not be able to make decisions for themselves at all. Manipulative people can take advantage of that weakness. That’s beyond wrong. It’s evil. Taking advantage of mental illness is entirely different than someone choosing to join the military to get college tuition money at the end of their tour of duty.

    I’m sure you understand what I am saying, you just don’t want to concede any point. I find it’s a lot easier to argue honestly and concede a point once in a while than it is to have to constantly try to argue my infallibility.

  39. sinisterscrawl says:

    We are vain and we are blind
    I hate people when they’re not polite
    Psycho killer, qu’est-ce que c’est?

  40. pyster says:

    And people laughed when I said “peace through prostitution” was a valid strategy.

  41. Anonymous says:

    To the anonymous commenter who said that this poor young soul was driven to this just bombing cause because the US was bombing Muslim countries and murdering hundreds of thousands of Muslims I would remind him that in both the Balkan war, the Afghani resistance against the USSR and the US aid of Somalia, Muslims were the primary beneficiaries of US intervention. So to in ousting Saddam from Kuwait.

    Not to mention that the first attack on the WTC, the Cole attack, the second WTC attack and many many others occurred previous to this so called war on Islam the poster sites.

    And also, this emo-terrorist that the poster defends fails to mention that the vast, vast majority of people murdered by these emos are actually Muslims. How is that a Muslim emo jihad forced upon the horrible US also force these terrorists to kill fellow Muslims most of the time?

  42. Anonymous says:

    get these people laid regularly and they won’t blow up planes, cars, people, polar bears. srsly. either that or they need a fleshlight. air drop fleshlights over extremist states!

  43. WA says:

    This is in desperate need of a clarification, as that post was not written by Farouk1986. As chiasmj noted, Farouk1986 wrote a potentially creepy (considering his later actions) response to the original post, which was made by ‘insurrection’.

    The posts Farouk1986 made weren’t really emo, and seemed to be more of posts one would expect from a budding religious fanatic.

    • Beezy says:

      As WA pointed out, Farouk1986 did not write the original post, he wrote the response, which begins “i was ‘lonely’ when i first came to IF. ‘Lonely’ in inverted comma because i made myself feel that way.”

      The BB article states otherwise.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I have to second WA at #63 — this post needs to be corrected post-haste. The original “Loneliness” post was made by someone with the screen name Insurrection. It was Farouk1986 who responded asking him the lonely person to contact him, which is still creepy, because who knows if he was trying to recruit people to his cause.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always said that nothing will attract women like burn scar tissue and a 20-to-life prison sentence.

  46. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    You are conflating two different things. The US army’s recruitment practices, and Abdulmutallab’s recruitment.

    I wasn’t likening candidates for terrorist recruitment to US Army recruits, Xeni was. That’s why I asked for the clarification. I agree that these are two totally diffferent issues separated in scale by several orders of magnitude.

    The thing I was condemning was terrorists preying on psychologically weak kids and manipulating them into participating in suicide missions against innocent people. I don’t think anyone (other than the most dogmatic close-minded types) would disagree with that.

  47. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Mark, I agree, in that there is no homogeniety to terrorism, and we need to separate the various flavours to determine the root causes and their instigators. IRA, Al Qaeda, Hamas and ETA are not synonyms.

    Political or ideological? Territorial or global? Lone assassin or organisation? What is the group’s goal? Are the acts of terrorism a means to an end, or an end in themselves?

    And it gets trickier when organisations who have specific political endpoints, use ideological means to enlist soldiers, so the top brass are working under different goals and assumptions to the foot soldiers (which is as true of the military as the para-military).

  48. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    The thing I was condemning was terrorists preying on psychologically weak kids and manipulating them into participating in suicide missions against innocent people.

    Right. And I think (without answering for her) Xeni was likening that to the US army preying on economically/academically challenged kids and manipulating them into participating in the occupation of Iraq against innocent people.

    Again, I can’t speak for her, but that is how I read it.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Instead of a war on terror, how about a war on low self-esteem? After all the guys in charge aren’t the ones with bombs on their chests.

  50. Lobster says:

    Just another bit of proof that there’s a fine line between “islamofascist terrorist” and “some idiot.”

  51. andygates says:

    @Lobster #66, “Just another bit of proof that there’s a fine line between “islamofascist terrorist” and “some idiot.””

    …and that line’s one step back, methinks, with the person who exploited emo-kid like they exploited our local wannabomber. Which makes the bombers victims too, and the handlers very bad people – not to mention utter cowards.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Actually arkizzle, white military recruits make up 75.8% of the force which is mostly in line with their national representation. The slightly higher proportion of Blacks and Hispanics actually is a result of lower participation among Asian-Americans. Further, the income distribution of recruits is virtually indistinguishable from the general population of the same age group and they come from households that generally represent the demographics of the nation. Real disproportions, however, are demonstrated by region with the South, Wymoming, Alaska and Montana being over represented and New England and the West under represented. I understand that worrying about southern white males is not what the ACLU is all about, but if their true concern is disproportionality among recruits, than it is the southern white male they should confine their attention to. Not to mention the howls of outrage that would accompany any effort by the US military to actively prevent minorities from joining its ranks.

    • arkizzle / Moderator says:

      Anon87,

      Fair enough, but I didn’t mention minorities/race (I know the ACLU quote did), I mentioned people of low-income and low-expectation-of-further-education (through ability or circumstance).

  53. Anonymous says:

    Of course, if I could find someone to marry, then Insha’Allah I would have someone in real life to give me all the attention and affection I wanted.

    *headdesks at the completely ridiculous image of marriage, one that she’s run into across a broad swathe of the population, irregardless of religious affiliation.*

    Because OF COURSE your partner only exists to give you all the attention and affection you want. OF COURSE your partner doesn’t have any needs or wants of their own. OF COURSE you have the right to get pissed off if your partner is distracted by their own issues and doesn’t give you what you want, when you want it. And OF COURSE if your partner isn’t doing or thinking the things you want your partner to do or think, than you can CHAAAANGE THEM!

    Oh, sorry. Somehow my sarcasm font was on.

  54. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    This kid wasn’t socially or economically disadvantaged, he was emotionally disturbed. A person who is poor or of a particular race can still determine right and wrong for himself and make his own decisions. Someone who is psychologically unstable may not be able to. That’s why terrorists and cult leaders prey on this type of stooge. That’s not at all the same thing as an Army recruiter pitching a job in the service to a lower class ethnic kid. Those kids are making decisions for themselves based on the options they have to work with. Maybe those options aren’t as good as a privileged upper class person, but they are making a decision for themselves. Manipulating psychologically disturbed people to commit suicide like that is evil by just about anyone’s definition.

  55. Perla says:

    Why should hookers have to suffer all the crazies out there? If they really really wanted to be laid, they could get laid, it’s not that hard (probably paying but anyway. I’m sure it’s more the type of person(I’m assuming woman) they want to lay who doesn’t want to lay with them.
    If they wanted someone to love them, they could find someone, they will probably just turn up their noses at the person who would do so.

  56. Notary Sojac says:

    Gee, we’ve been rid of Chimpy McBushitler for a year now, the Nobel Prize winner has been spraying Bactine on the world’s boo-boos for all that time, and they still don’t love us yet??? Jeepers, what a letdown.

  57. ikoino says:

    Anyone know of a terrorist dating site to refer these people to?

  58. phisrow says:

    Great, just great. Weaponized emo-kid…

  59. V says:

    Emo Islamists – the greatest threat the world has known….

  60. Anonymous says:

    It’s probably hard to find a date when your an emotional black hole.

  61. SeattlePete says:

    “So far, the families we’ve met aren’t interested in me, though.”

    Boy I gotta tell you if I had to pass muster with a girls parents before getting with her, I’d never have met anyone either. I mean, who wants to go out with someone their parents would approve of? No doubt this speaks volumes about my cultural insensitivity and ignorance.

    After pantsbomber did his thing the first thing I thought was “This guy has no girlfriend”. Sad and pathetic and stupid. Another case of a guy who should have just killed himself instead of trying to take out a bunch of happy people in order to make some kind of point.

  62. DeWynken says:

    Oh yay, emo martyr.

  63. Anonymous says:

    The next person who says “emo” is getting pistol-whipped.
    Lazy, dumb, easy and tired.
    Please come up with a new term for young people you’re jealous of.

  64. BdgBill says:

    Ugh – Sometimes Boing Boing can make NPR sound like Fox News.

    So many commenters wringing their hands and wondering “what have we done to poor lonely MR. Abdulmutallab to cause him to do this terrible thing?” He is “brain washed” and a “victim”.

    Is there no possibility he is a perfectly sane zealot that wanted to kill some Americans so bad that he was wiling to die to do it?

    Stopping these attacks is very easy (although sadly, politically incorrect).

    Take half the budget that the TSA currently wastes seizing my nail clippers and bottled water and give it to the embassy and consulate system in Africa, the Middle East etc.

    Nobody with passports from the targeted countries crosses US borders without a thorough background check and a good reason for the trip in the first place. If they do not leave on the day they are supposed to, the US Marshalls service tracks them down, deports them and they are banned for life.

    People from non-targeted countries (including Americans) who travel to targeted countries are subjected to the same background checks for a period of time.

    This plan will likely inconvenience a few thousand innocent people. Too bad. The current system inconveniences millions of innocent people everyday.
    inconveniences

    • blueelm says:

      Well if it makes you feel better I don’t feel bad for him. Most sociopaths see themselves as the victim, and wanting a mind slave to endlessly love you is pretty narcissistic to me.

      Some people seem really naive here. I mean, are we actually surprised that terrorists are human beings? Are we surprised that they do things for reasons that, if seen from their perspective, we would consider rational? Are we surprised that they have families, mothers, wives, husbands,children? Are we surprised that radical and reactionary groups, as well as religious cults and gangs, are attractive to wounded lonely people?

      What about this is surprising? Seriously.

      Hell not that long ago I read that in some places they rape women to coerce them into becoming suicide bombers since their lives are seen as over and they may be put to death for it anyway.

      So of course, yes, you have people in these organizations that are or were somewhat decent human beings… how is that shocking?

      Despite that though it doesn’t make any of it ok. So he’s human, what he did is still completely wrong.

      • arkizzle / Moderator says:

        Blueelm, BdgBill,

        It isn’t about making anything ok, it’s about people trying to understand the whys and hows of acts that are unfathomable to most. Blueelm, I agree almost completely with your post @74, but I think, sadly, yes some people have never considered the people who commit acts of terrorism as people.

        I mean, look at BdgBill, above. Apparently all terrorists are cold, methodical, self-driven assassins, able to carry out horrors without batting an eyelid to emotion, suggesting they are all psychopaths/sociopaths. Rather than the statistically more likely vulnerable-and-repressed-people being led by orders from smaller politically motivated groups, to do acts the soldiers wouldn’t consider acceptable without deceit and massive emotional blackmailing.

  65. pinehead says:

    Mood: angsty
    Music: The Cure – All Cats Are Grey

  66. Ian_McLoud says:

    http://www.tech-faq.com/emoticons/sad/triste_16.gif
    –>
    http://www.tech-faq.com/emoticons/Violence/Violence_1.gif

    Any more news regarding:
    1) The guy who was supposedly using a camcorder throughout the flight.
    2) The additional person that was seen taken into custody and later denied by the FBI.
    3) The well dressed guy who helped him get onto the plane without a passport.

    These reports are stirring my conspiracy bug! And these chat room posts are helping!

    Or maybe the eyewitnesses don’t recall everything perfectly after the most terrifying experience of their lives…

  67. GuidoDavid says:

    This is extremely disturbing. Now the guy is not the guy anymore, it’s Farouk1986, a screen name he chose. It was easy to dismiss him as a religious nut, brainwashed to the extreme, which he was. But behind all that, there is a functional mind who writes in what to me is good English and tells us a story that we can empathize with. Umar Farouk is not a moron, and then, what went wrong? Could I have been led to his path, had I been on his circumstances? I want to think that no, but after reading this, I am not so sure.

    I am human, and nothing human is alien to me.

    Again, this is really disturbing.

    • Anonymous says:

      The interesting thing is you and I read it and felt compassion. The person who recruited him probably read that very same post thought, “Hmm, lonely – check, estranged from family – check, looking for love and acceptance – check, looking for an authority figure to tell him what to do – check, JACKPOT!”. I mean if this post really is the real deal then there’s all you need to know why he did it. He was vulnerable and easy to manipulate.

  68. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    What does it say about terrorist recruiters that they chose this kind of messed up kid to fight their battles for them?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      @ASIFA, one might ask the same of the US Army.

      • Anonymous says:

        Save your indignation for heads of state instead of their apparatus. Tell Mr. Obama to get rid of the US Army if they’re such an insufferable bunch.

      • ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

        one might ask the same of the US Army.

        I’m guessing that is a jokey comment because I doubt you think that most American soldiers are lonely and emotionally disturbed.

        It’s typical for cults and extremist groups to target messed up kids to exploit. The people who strap bombs onto kids like this and convince them to go into public places to commit suicide are beneath contempt. That type of person is well worth fighting, whether it’s a Muslim extremist, or Jim Jones or a white supremacist. Using disturbed kids to fight for you is cowardly in the extreme.

        • macrumpton says:

          I have little doubt that a majority of the people in the armed forces are there because the employment possibilities elsewhere are bleak, especially for people who do not have brilliant academic careers that attract scholarships.

          From personal experience I can say that many folks in the military are there because their childhoods prepared them for it, either super strict parents (which makes the military look familiar) or a chaotic home life which makes the military look good by comparison.

        • arkizzle / Moderator says:

          ASIFA

          I’d say it was a less a jokey comment, and more and allusion to the fact that the US army (all armies, maybe) is known for recruiting disproportionately from the people with the least options (economically and academically), who are vulnerable to the deceptive offers of bonuses, education and non-deployable positions that recruiters can make without ever providing.

          The ACLU found that the U.S. military continues to engage in tactics designed to recruit students under the age of 17. The ACLU also found that U.S. military recruitment tactics disproportionately target low-income youth and students of color. After examining U.S. recruitment practices last year, the CRC called on the U.S. to end military training in public schools and stop targeting racial minorities or low-income children for recruitment.
          http://www.aclu.org/blog/human-rights/abusive-recruitment-practices-not-now-not-ever

  69. mgfarrelly says:

    “The war on terror” has always struck me as a wonky phrase. How do you fight an emotion, a state of mind? Really, what we’re fighting is the hopelessness of young men, who come from rich backgrounds and awful poverty alike, who embrace crazed violence as some kind of way to stifle the pain. They’re not acting out of some grand religious zealotry, or even nationalism, it’s often just a very confused young man who gets led down a very violent and well-worn path.

    I can’t help but pity these guys on some level. They’re made into Lex Luthor/Joker hybrids by the right wing in the US when in reality they’re second cousins to the grottiest cosplayer at comic-con.

  70. cymk says:

    From the sounds of it, he wanted to be friends with other muslims, not other people despite going to a school with Brits and Americans. So he set himself up for failure. “Boo hoo, I can’t find carbon copies of myself to hang out with.” I feel sorry for him, that he did not have a more open view of other people/cultures. Who knows he might have even found some friends in those Brit or American students there at the Arabic language center.

    I think its this kind of taught social-isolationism that sets these kids up for failure. The only place they have left to turn is religion and even that fails them. Its not surprising that islam can fail to meet ones spiritual/social needs just like christianity/catholicism/judaism. All you need is one crazy guy to tell young impressionable youths that killing them self for god is the answer to all their problems.

  71. Anonymous says:

    This is really sad and very disturbing. Was his attempt to blow up a plane a cry for help? Was he bullied as a kid? What about his parents and friends? What went wrong with his wiring that he felt the need to spread his unhappiness onto others?
    It is terrible that the weak and vulerable are the prey of cults and terrorist leaders.
    I am glad that the people who stopped him were raised to take action.

  72. J France says:

    I can understand why people would choose to hold this guy in contempt, and it’s telling that “the most troubling” post is described as “the most human”.

    It’s easy – preferable, in fact – for us to be able to dismiss this guy as an unthinking, brainwashed monster. Not an educated, rational young man who was depressed, lonely and marginalised within his own culture – if only by himself and his shyness. I feel very sorry for him, which isn’t to say he’s bereft of responsibility, but he is a victim in this too.

    If we could actually stop and sympathise with the guy for a little longer, there is a small chance that people might be able recognise equally sad and lonely young men who are vulnerable to advances from radical groups. Perhaps find a way to get to them first – it’s not like he didn’t put himself out there.

  73. Ian_McLoud says:

    I am going to be very disappointed if Jack Bauer’s nemesis in the new season of 24 is based on this sort of evil-doer.

    • Chuck says:

      >I am going to be very disappointed if Jack Bauer’s nemesis in the new season of 24 is based on this sort of evil-doer.

      I’m imagining a scene…

      “I CAN’T STAND ANY MORE WHINING! Shut up! SHUT UUUUUUP!”

      It might be Jack Bauer’s undoing (he may put his gun to his own head).

      • Ian_McLoud says:

        Thank goodness someone else it excited to engage in trivial banter over this issue (perhaps with some interesting overtones of media/reality).

        War = Bad
        Obama = disappointment
        Bush = Gone
        Religion = Bad
        Dude’s nutsack burning off until his testes fall out, instead of him killing hundreds of innocent people = An excellent fucking Christmas gift! The sort of thing you can put under the tree for the man who has everything (Jack Bauer).

  74. KaiBeezy says:

    .
    not intended as
    a tip of the hat
    to our most infamous
    homegrown *bomber
    but
    .
    propose rename pantsbomber
    .
    undiebomber
    .

  75. bcsizemo says:

    “rational young man who was depressed”

    I’m not sure how that works together. Obviously rational had left sometime ago, and depression had set in much before that.

    Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child. He seems very introverted, but yet lacks any ability to self analyze. I realize when I exhibit a behavior that is out of character, or not productive, or in general not something that is good for me. That typically leads to figuring out a way to eliminate or minimize that behavior. (I’m not saying that always works out for me, but I don’t typically rely on others to “fix” my problems.)

    The depression isn’t helping him to see anymore clearly, and having any type of outsider prop you up and make you feel worthy is giving a tremendous amount of power to someone outside of your control. Things like this are extremely dangerous, just for the simple fact you have people blindly following others. And everyone is right, it’s not even really about the religious aspects. From his perspective it was about belonging and fitting in, filling a void.

    I wonder if he has/had siblings.

    Oh, and what does it say about the terrorist that choose these type of people? They are pretty smart if you ask me. Picking someone who follows you because you give them something they think no one else can, that’s scary.

  76. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    I’m sure you understand what I am saying, you just don’t want to concede any point. I find it’s a lot easier to argue honestly and concede a point once in a while than it is to have to constantly try to argue my infallibility.

    That’s a dick move ASIFA.

    I genuinely don’t agree with the distinction you are making, and for you to suggest I do but am arguing dishonestly because I don’t want to let you have it, is pretty pissy. I certainly don’t require a patronising lecture from you telling me how to achieve a better discussion.

    Do I not feel the same as you, in this situation? I feel that desparate people (economically or whatever) can be cajoled into things, as a direct result of their life-options, that otherwise comfortable people cannot (and I cannot fathom why you don’t see the parallel).

    Are you being dishonest for not conceding to me?

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